Skype beta for Web is officially open to the public.
New and existing users in the U.S. and U.K. can visit Skype.com (or web.skype.com) to connect with family and friends without downloading the application.
Seven months ago, Microsoft announced it would go back to basics with an in-browser version of the platform already accessible via desktops, mobile devices, televisions, and game consoles.
Instead of bogging down your computer with another app install, just sign in to Skype beta for Web and begin instant messaging and making calls.
“[P]erhaps you’re sitting at a Windows or Mac computer in an Internet cafe or hotel that doesn’t already have Skype downloaded,” Jonathan Watson, senior product marketing manager for user reach and engagement, said in a blog post.
Windows users can connect to Skype for Web from Internet Explorer 10 and up, and the newest versions of Chrome and Firefox. On Mac, it works with Safari 6 and up.
There is one catch: Until Microsoft and Skype’s work on Real-Time Communications (RTC) becomes a reality, you will need to download a small plug-in to start a conversation. Just follow the prompt once you’ve logged in, and you’ll soon be ready to chat.
Browser availability is one of the issues Skype will work on during its beta, as well as battery consumption for Mac users and video call connection times. A few kinks have already been worked out, though, including the improved search feature. Web users can now easily find people and groups via a searchable timeline view.
No matter your Skype platform of choice, the program syncs across all devices, including browsers, to ensure your latest chats are accessible. And when you’re too engrossed in YouTube videos or BuzzFeed articles to notice a video call, Skype for Web will provide a pop-up notification.
The online version of Microsoft’s chat client will continue rolling out over the next few weeks.
In April, Redmond rolled out the new Skype for Business client, formally replacing Microsoft’s Lync video and Web conferencing platform; all organizations using Lync Online have been transitioned to Skype for Business.
News first appeared on: PC Mag